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Team 573 has grown a little this past year. You may have met our newest team member running around town getting to know the community. A very sweet little lady, Ciapka is smart, funny, and has the thickest, prettiest, curly spotted coat of fur you ever did see! Oh, did I mention she’s a puppy?

Ciapka the Motion Dog on set at Hughes Mountain.

Last year around this time, we set out to find our new 573 Magazine studio dog/mascot. It proved to be a much greater task than we ever imagined, but well worth the digs. We needed a friendly, well mannered pooch who traveled well, could come on set while shooting or filming, and one who could be patient during important meetings at the studio. And of course we needed a dog who could represent our brand at 573 Magazine and Motion Dog Films—we needed our Motion Dog. We weren’t looking for a guard dog, we needed a companion and friend. It took awhile, but we found the perfect dog for us.

Meet Ciapka, the Motion Dog.

Finding our Motion Dog would be step one. We knew we wanted a pup to train to our lifestyle. So we did what everyone does, we started to search all the local animal shelters. Fifteen years ago, when we got our last dog we found him at the Farmington Animal Center. He turned out to be a great dog and he had an amazing and happy life.

This time when we reached out to the local shelters, we were very surprised to hear that the shelters now hold very few dogs for adoption. I thought the world was packed with stray and homeless dogs? Nope, that’s not the case any longer. In fact we reached out to all the shelters in a 100 mile radius, they all now only housed a few animals each and the ones they did have were all on waiting lists to even be considered.

Finally after 3 months of searching, we found a dog that looked like a good fit for us. We went to the shelter and filled out the adoption papers. When we called the shelter to find out when we could pick the dog up, we were told the dog had been adopted—WHAT?!

What the heck is going on with these places?

We left that situation a little frustrated and considered, "Where are we going to get our studio dog?" So we went to the one place where you can find absolutely anything—Facebook.

...searching for the perfect dog

There were tons of choices online and the cost was about the same as getting a dog from a shelter. It wasn’t long before we came to the Available Dogs in Missouri page on Facebook. It's a private group with 27,600 members. We worked our way into the group and started searching for the perfect dog. I soon came to the realization that finding good local people who breed and raise healthy, well cared-for litters of puppies is not only a great way to get exactly what you want in a pet, but it’s a great way to support the local economy.

The point of animal shelters, I thought, was to find good homes for all the zillions of stray dogs, right? Well, I found out that not only are there no longer many dogs needing new homes at the local animal shelters, but if you say the wrong thing—you’re not getting a dog at all.
Newly born Ciapka.
Frustrated...we came to the Available Dogs in Missouri page on Facebook. It's a private group with 27,600 members.
Ciapka with her siblings.

The dog community on the page was great. We were able to learn about different breeds and learn about the people raising the dogs. It was pretty much the exact opposite of what we hear about dog breeders from the media and animal shelters. Most everyone on the site treats their dogs like part of their family. And as a bonus, the pups get more time with qualified dog trainers. We found a nice couple raising American Cocker Spaniels not too far from 573 Headquarters and made the short drive over to Pilot Knob to meet with them and get more information.

With so many pups, it was hard to choose.
When we met with the Medleys, we were invited into their home to see the puppies.

When we met with the Medleys, we were invited into their home to see the puppies. I was surprised to see the mother and the puppies being housed in the Medleys bedroom. We got to meet both the father of the pups and the mother. Both dogs were very well mannered. When we went to pick out our puppy, the mother was fine with us grabbing a pup to hold. There were around ten to choose from—they were all so cool. We picked our pup and left.

The Medleys started sending us updates and pics of the pup as we waited for her to wean away from the mother. They gave our dog all her needed shots and had her examined for any problems. Two weeks before we would get the pup, they even let us pick her up for an examination with our vet. They also let our puppy stay an extra week with the mother, something our vet advised. It was an amazing experience and now we have an amazing studio team member. She is well mannered, very smart, no emotional issues and she travels well. The perfect dog for us. The Medleys are honest, upfront and they treat their dogs like members of their family.

I was surprised to see the mother and the puppies being housed in the Medleys bedroom.
Ciapka's Mommy. We got to meet both the father of the pups and the mother.

Meet Lonnie & Lisa Medley

A retired local married couple, Lisa and Lonnie stumbled into breeding and raising pure-bred American Cocker Spaniels accidentally after rescuing a neglected pup. But the enormous amount of knowledge they have about the breed, and the seemingly endless bounty of love and patience they give their fur babies, suggests that they simply found their calling. We sat down with Lisa and her furry friends to get the full 411.

573 Magazine: Tell us about your family.

Lonnie and I have been married for 25 years. We have 3 children Amber Nipper, Allison Cowsert and Adam DeClue. From those 3 children we have 17 grandchildren. We are from the Bonne Terre/ Farmington area. My husband is retired from truck driving that he did for 31 years and I had to quit work due to my health.

Ciapka at seven weeks.

573 Magazine: Tell us how you got started.

I have had Cocker Spaniels since I was little and so I really got Lonnie into it. We had a female Cocker, she was black and white. We weren't even looking to get another one, but we stumbled upon a puppy mill and so we bought one out of there to save him. It was terrible. He was solid black. When the black and white one came into heat we let them mate, and that is when we got started.

573 Magazine: What makes a good dog breeder?

A good breeder is one that has their whole heart in it, not their wallet. They cannot be in it just for the money. They have to be in it for the love of the puppies because they need all the love you can give them. We take ours out so many at a time and play with them and love on them. We also make sure they are going to loving homes. We can tell from the people we meet and if we can’t meet them in person we FaceTime them and see them that way. But a good breeder has to show love, have love, and be loving.

It is so hard to find a pet dog nowadays because people want an arm and a leg for them. They have these outrageous prices, for even mutts. Good, hard-working people can’t afford to pay $1,000 - $2,500.00 for a pet dog. That is Highway robbery! A good breeder makes it affordable for a family to be able to get a good pet for their kids. Once again, herein lies the money issue. That is how you can tell who is in it for the money.

Ciapka at 12 weeks - her first photo shoot.

573 Magazine: We hear a lot about dog-napping and scam animal rescue groups preying on pets in the area. How do you avoid these issues raising puppies?

Yes, I believe you are exactly right about that. There is a lot of dog napping going on. That is why I am glad we have a fenced-in yard. But it is smart nowadays if you can get your dog chipped. If you can get them chipped then those people can track the dog to the exact place. So chipping is the way to go.

We have not come across any scam rescue groups ourselves, but we have heard about them from other people that are out there on Facebook in the dog group sites.

I do not agree with how some rescue groups do their adoptions at all. Some seem like they are more interested in collecting donations than finding the rightful owners and reunite the pets with their families. I think somebody needs to check into all of that, like the health department goes in and checks restaurants out.

573 Magazine: What are the benefits of adopting a pure-bred puppy?

Home born, pure breed dogs are better than mutts [mixed-breed dogs of unknown origin] because at least with a pure breed you know what you have and what you are working with if there is a problem. With a mutt, most of the time you have no idea what breed/breeds you have, if they are good with children, how they are around other people... and you sure don’t need your dog biting someone and then you having a costly hospital bill. It is just not a good idea to take on a mutt sometimes.

Ciapka at six months heading to work.

573 Magazine: Have you ever picked up a stray off the street?

No. Picking dogs up on the street runs in the same line as taking on a mutt. You know nothing about the dog such as it’s temperament, if it’s carrying any diseases, how it will react around other people etc. If you see a stray dog, do the right thing and contact the local pound who knows how to deal with stray animals and how to reunite them with their owners.

573 Magazine: How often do you have a litter of puppies?

Our dogs have 2 litters per year, one in the fall and one in the spring. Sometimes we only let her have one a year. We skip a cycle to give her a break so it doesn’t get hard on her or anything.

Ciapka at work at the 573 Content Studio.
Today, Ciapka stays very busy. She lives with 3 cats and has lots of space to run. She is safe and happy. She loves to swim and her favorite treat is White Castle chicken rings. She spends her days at the 573 Studio. She comes along on location for filming or shooting new stories for 573 Magazine. She's well mannered, well adjusted, and now just one of the 573 Team. BTW - Ciapka is Polish for spot!
Ciapka finding the perfect spot for our shoot at Hughes Mountain.
Ciapka on set at Sam A Baker. She loves to swim.

...and she's always willing to be a stand-in when needed.

Rumor has it another litter is on the way now, but you better move fast if you want one. They’re in such high demand the puppies are often sold before their eyes are open! We found our Ciapka in Lisa & Lonnie’s spring litter and were able to bring her home and move on to step two, creating a healthy puppy environment...starting with her first few vet checks. But that story will have to wait for next time. Get out there!

words by aj koehler & t. smugala

pics by t. smugala

models - Ava, Christian, & Ciapka

A very special 573 Magazine Thank You to Lonnie and Lisa Medley, for our perfect little lady!


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